Air travellers flying to Napier from Auckland have spent hours stuck at Auckland AIrport today, despite actually setting off for Hawke's Bay Airport 24 hours ago.

In some cases, Air New Zealand passengers have now actually flown over Hawke's Bay twice, only to be turned back to Auckland.

One Havelock North resident, who did not wish to be named, said he had now been trying to get home from Auckland for 24 hours.

"It's a debacle. The first flight was 4.30pm (last night) to Napier, we flew round three times and then they canned all the flights since then. Obviously, the flow on from that is pretty close to a disaster.

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"This morning (Thursday) we got turned back as well. So, some of us have gone twice to Napier and come back again.

"This morning we flew in, tried to land once and then flew back again. Last night we tried to land three times and came back again."

The next available flight to Napier was at 2pm today - but that was delayed.

"I should have been at work today, so it has been a bit of a debacle to say the least."

An Air NZ spokeswoman confirmed Flight NZ5025 from Auckland to Napier returned to Auckland this morning due to fog in Napier.

Air NZ flights to Napier from Auckland are back on this evening, although there are some delays. Jetstar flights to and from Napier tonight have been cancelled.

Although a pre-planned reduction in services mean the airport's control tower was unmanned until lunchtime on Tuesday, the spokeswoman said she was unaware of any issues around the control tower today.

Today's issues are the latest in a series of flight disruptions for air travellers in and out of Hawke's Bay.

On Tuesday, a flight from Napier to Wellington was delayed by 10 minutes while pilots carried out additional pre-departure processes as the aerodrome was under air traffic control contingency procedures.

Last week, the control tower copped criticism from Napier MP Stuart Nash, who hit out on Twitter after his flight from Hawke's Bay Airport was delayed.

He claimed the late departure - the second in as many weeks - was because an air traffic controller was late for work.

Airways, which operates the airport's control tower confirmed the delay was down to an unexpected staff shortage on that occasion.